South Korea's New Fighter Jet: the KF-21 Boramae

South Korea unveils the country's first indigenous combat aircraft, the KF21 Boramae.

Atul Chandra
09 April 2021
Final assembly of the prototype at KAI's Sacheon factory (Copyright: KAI)


South Korea's new fighter jet

The KF-21 Boramae (Hawk) is the first completely indigenous combat aircraft  to be developed by South Korea. 

The first prototype of the KF-21, which featured a grey paint scheme, was recently unveiled at Korea Aerospace Industry’s (KAI) Sacheon factory by South Korean president Moon Jae-in. The aircraft is expected to commence ground trials shortly.

South Korea now joins the ranks of countries like the US, Russia, China, France, Japan and the Eurofighter consortium of nations (UK, Germany, Italy and Spain) in designing a supersonic 4.5 generation fighter aircraft.

The aircraft’s core equipment, according to KAI’s website, includes an AESA radar and Integrated Electronic Warfare Equipment, Infrared Search and Track and Electro-optical targeting pod.

The first KF-21 prototype is expected to make its maiden flight in 2022. KAI started development on the KF-21 (initially named KF-X) in December 2015.

The Preliminary Design Review was completed in 2018, followed by the Critical Design Review in September 2019. The new Korean fighter is expected to complete its flight evaluation by 2026.

The roll out ceremony also featured participation by officials from the Indonesian Government and Ministry of Defence.

An Indonesia specific variant called the IF-X was to also have been developed, but has been delayed due to budgetary constraints.